The Oneida Improvement Committee was incorporated in 1992 for the purpose of civic benefits for the community and its citizens. The organization held several events in Oneida including the Oktoberfest, Oneida Fashion Show and Oneida Block Party. The Oneida Block Party quickly became a yearly summer event in Downtown Oneida, expanding to a two day event with entertainment, amusement rides, a craft show, car show and fireworks show.
With the proceeds from events and membership drives the Oneida Improvement Committee was able to invest over $40,000 into the Oneida Community since 2000. Some of the recipients of their generosity were the Kallet Civic Center, the Oneida Memorial Day Parade, the New Year’s Eve Fireworks and the City of Oneida Recreation Department’s Easter Egg Hunt. Beautification projects that the OIC contributed to were Higinbotham Park’s ornamental light poles and 1929 World Fair replica benches and the yearly downtown hanging flower basket project that filled 72 hanging flower baskets with flowers.
With the downturn in the economy beginning in 2008 members saw the need to redirect the Oneida Improvement Committee’s mission from a civic to a charity organization. More and more members of the community were unable to take part in programs offered by the City of Oneida Recreation Department. The OIC felt it could help with fundraising for those who could not participate and also help lessen the burden of the city government by assisting with those programs.
In October of 2012 the Oneida Improvement Committee, Inc. attained 501(c)(3) status. A tax deductible donation was now possible for those who donated to the OIC. This more importantly opened up the opportunity to apply for grants for programming and funding for projects. The OIC wasted no time in apply for and winning grants.
One project that was of great interest to the OIC was the Oneida Rail Trail project. This would repurpose an existing historic asset into a new community destination using the foot print of the three former railroads that traversed through Oneida at the turn of the century. The OIC was awarded an $8500 grant in January 2013 for the purpose of developing the Oneida Rail Trail. This project fits into the scope of the Oneida Improvement Committee’s mission of improving the lives of the citizens of Oneida, NY in many ways. The benefits will affect young and old, affording everyone the opportunity to recreate in our area while keeping people healthy. The Oneida Rail Trail will be an economic engine pumping much needed dollars into our local economy. Lastly, the ORT is an opportunity to keep the rich Oneida railroad history alive. We see this benefitting City of Oneida citizens for generations to come.
As the Oneida Improvement Committee, Inc. continues to grow in our community we look forward to partnering with other organizations as we strive to improve the lives of the citizens of Oneida, NY.